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How the KFC name change led to a “mutant chicken” conspiracy theory
KFC was accused of using "mutant" chickens
KFC has been a fast food institution across the world for many years.
Like most businesses, it has evolved over time to make sure it remains relevant as times change.
In 1991, the decision was made to change its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to simply KFC.
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The thinking behind this was that the new name was shorter and snappier.
The word "fried" had also developed negative connotations.
The company also decided to ditch the word "chicken" as its menu had expanded to include other foods.
Even in pre-internet days, the decision led to conspiracy-minded people deciding there must be another reason for the change and then spreading a ludicrous made-up rumour.
The rumor was that KFC had somehow been forced to change its name because it was no longer using real chicken.
Instead, it was claimed, the company was using "mutant" meat that could not meet the requirements to be called "chicken."
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KFC:"100% of our chicken is real"
The rumor claimed KFC used genetically modified animals with multiple legs, no feathers, and even more than one head (We're not sure why two-headed chickens would be of any benefit to a fast-food company, as not many people order the head.)
Even without social media, the myth gained such traction KFC had to address it on its website, which, in 2022, says:
"100% of our chicken is real and meets independently assured animal welfare and food safety standards, all the way from farm to fingers."
KFC took action against some of the companies spreading the rumors in China in 2015 and won damages of $127,000 and a public apology.
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